Who Is the Top Footballer In the World?

Apologies to American readers, I’m talking soccer, not American football! The question of who is the best footballer can break friendships and destroy families, but there are some objective ways of arriving at the answer.

For example, every year FIFA arrives at their judgement. Their pick is Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina). Next week, he will also likely pick up the Ballon D’Or – the other big world award. Messi is undoubtedly a great player and a scoring machine.

But he’s not alone at the top, close behind him in these awards were Christian Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal) and Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands). Van Dijk stands out as he’s a defender. Defenders rarely get singled out as the best of the best.

Another way to arrive at the best player is to see who is worth the most in the transfer market. KPMG has a model that estimates this. Their top three ranking would be:

  1. Kylian Mbappe, (Paris St Germain (PSG)/France player)
  2. Neymar (PSG/Brazil)
  3. Lionel Messi (Barca / Argentina)

Meanwhile, betting markets would have the following:

  1. Neymar (PSG/Brazil)
  2. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City/England)
  3. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool / England)

Neymar stands out on this metric, which makes me wonder about this form of ranking. Also, the betting markets are based in England, which could bias the results (#2 and #3 are English players).

I’m a Liverpool fan, so I’d be happy to settle for either Van Dijk or Alexander-Arnold! But the player I rate the most is Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/Brazil). He’s not the big goal scorer, yet is a joy to watch and is the hidden star of Liverpool. Who would you pick?

Bilal

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